Review: David Douard, “Slippers of Snow”

Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin.

“At the center of my ironic faith, my blasphemy, is the image of the cyborg,” writes Donna J. Haraway in the opening paragraph of A Cyborg Manifesto (1991), which might as well serve as a tagline for David Douard’s current exhibition. Industrial meets biomorphic design, with rooms sectioned off with steel beams, glass panels, and grids of aluminum studs, around and through which his sculptures have been placed. The cool, sterile architecture suggests a bespoke spaceship, and the main activity inside is sex between humans and machines.

The jellyfish-like sculpture all like peacemeal, 2016, hangs from the ceiling, its body represented by a light-emitting glass orb with tentacles and oral arms made from metal chain, copper, and tubing. Lying on a circular plate below is a small glass piece in the shape of twisted fallopian tubes, with a condom—unpackaged but apparently unused—shoved into one of its orifices.

On the floor sits a knife blade fixed upright in a matchbox-size block of lead. The sculpture, Untitled, 1976, by Daniel Pommereulle, is one of two works Douard incorporated to pay homage to the deceased artist. A large two-sided steel panel,The reason we no longer speak. Slipper of Snow, 2015, frames these smaller works. One side contains broken eggshells strung together with wire, encased in metal mesh, and the other has a grungy textile and photocollage featuring a young girl. The materials and imagery bring to mind the alien-hybrid abortion scene in the film Prometheus (2012) while intimating the violent death of humankind by technology. The trick here is realizing that lust for life is paired with a death wish and that technologies, like the aliens, are made in our own image.

First published on Artforum.com, September 29th, 2016.
http://artforum.com/picks/id=63815

arielle bier